Endocardial cells are specialized endothelial cells that, during embryogenesis, form a lining on the inside of the developing heart, which is maintained throughout life. Endocardial cells are an essential source for several lineages of the cardiovascular system including coronary endothelium, endocardial cushion mesenchyme, cardiomyocytes, mural cells, fibroblasts, liver vasculature, adipocytes, and hematopoietic cells. Alterations in the differentiation programs that give rise to these lineages has detrimental effects, including premature lethality or significant structural malformations present at birth. Here, we will review the literature pertaining to the contribution of endocardial cells to valvular, and nonvalvular lineages and highlight critical pathways required for these processes. The lineage differentiation potential of embryonic, and possibly adult, endocardial cells has therapeutic potential in the regeneration of damaged cardiac tissue or treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Copyright © 2020 Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; all rights reserved.